Monday, February 13, 2012

Holmes' strange ally

Enraged by the protesters who disrupted John Key's visit to Te Tii marae on Waitangi Day, Paul Holmes used his column in last Saturday's New Zealand Herald to condemn Maori as 'hateful', 'greedy', and 'neurotic' people who live on the dole, beat up their kids, and in their spare time think up new ways to 'bamboozle' hard-working white folk into giving them money. Holmes called for the abolition of the Treaty of Waitangi, and suggested that white New Zealanders should shun Maori until they change their ways.

Holmes' Waitangi Day column is only the latest in a series of attacks he has made on people with the wrong skin colour. In 2003 he won international attention after characterising Kofi Annan as 'a cheeky darkie'. Annan had disagreed with George Bush's invasion of Iraq, but Holmes insisted that, as a mere African, the Secretary General of the United Nations had no right to try to argue with a white man. In 2004 Holmes attacked the tens of thousands of Maori marching against Labour's Seabed and Foreshore Bill as 'losers' and 'bludgers' who had no right to participate in the political process.

I might have decided to treat it as a joke, but Holmes' text has made many Maori very angry. Complaints have flowed in to the Race Relations Conciliator, discussion forums at Maori websites are full of criticism of Holmes, and a protest is being organised against the New Zealand Herald. Political commentator Morgan Godfery spoke for many Pakeha as well as Maori when he called Paul Holmes 'morally repugnant and deeply racist'.

But Paul Holmes has had one unexpected defender - the left-wing political scientist and commentator Bryce Edwards.

Near the beginning of his summary of the Holmes controversy for Monday's New Zealand Herald, Edwards seems to concede that the veteran journalist's column was racist. Edwards notes that Holmes 'paints all Maori with the same brush' when he characterises them as hateful, greedy child abusers.

Instead of endorsing Morgan Godfery's calls for protests, though, Edwards claims that Holmes has raised 'important points', and is expressing a 'legitimate perspective'. Rather than condemn Holmes, Edwards chides the man's critics, suggesting that they want to 'clamp down' on 'debate about ethnicity and politics'.

Edwards argues that other prominent commentators have expressed 'similar views' to Holmes, and in support of this assertion he cites columns about Waitangi Day by the Dominion Post's Sean Plunket and the Herald's John Roughan.

But while Roughan and Plunket are both hostile to the protesters who gathered at Te Tii marae on Waitangi Day, their columns express views of Maori and of the Treaty qualitatively different from those of Holmes. Where Holmes calls for the abrogation of the Treaty of Waitangi, John Roughan expresses his 'love' for the document and for the day that commemorates its signing. He contests the interpretation of the Treaty put forward by Waitangi Day protesters like Hone Harawira, but not the Treaty itself.

In his column, Sean Plunket contrasts the confrontations between police and protesters at Te Tii marae with the goodwill between races which he found at Wellington's Lyall Bay on Waitangi Day. Where Paul Holmes presents Maori hatred and greed as a dire threat to race relations in New Zealand, Plunket asserts that, away from the hot spot of Te Tii, Maori and Pakeha get along very well.

To link Plunket and Roughan's columns with Holmes' rant is to confuse rational conservatism with demented racism.

The real parallels with Holmes' column can be found on the discussion threads of right-wing New Zealand blogs, where commenters have echoed his view of Maori as a depraved and dangerous people, and called for a race war in New Zealand.

At David Farrar's Kiwiblog, for instance, a regular commenter who uses the name Johnboy said that whites should 'burn the bloody treaty' and start 'a holy war' against the 'dark forces' of Maoridom. Another Kiwiblog commenter, who calls himself Griff, called for the mass hanging of Maori. Comments like these can be found amongst Holmes' supporters at many other blogs, and in the lengthy discussion thread under Holmes' column at the New Zealand Herald's website. Bryce Edwards ought to be able to understand that a rational debate about New Zealand history and race relations cannot grow from Holmes' bigoted outbursts, any more than flowers can grow out of stone.

[posted by Maps/Scott]


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sir Paul is just having a larf. Can ye not take a larf?

3:41 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Edwards has ditched the left. That explains so much.

8:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Edwards never presents himself as a leftists these days. He's just another one who has made the transition. He was never very keen on tino rangatiratanga.

9:16 am  
Blogger Sanctuary said...

Almost all the dynamic change (and population growth) in New Zealand is occurring in a very rough triangle bound by Wellsford in the north to Raglan in the South and across (including Hamilton within its boundaries) to Tauranga. When people speak of "South of the Bombays" I suspect they often intellectually mean outside of this triangle. This part of New Zealand is increasingly a different country from the rest. The rest of the North Island struggles to relate to this dynamic triangle. The South island, still overwhelming Pakeha increasingly regards this Auckland dominated triangle as a foreign country. The Deep South of Otago and Southland is in many ways now an intellectual backwater, out of touch with the realities and dynamics of race relations in the "Auckland triangle". Given Bryce Edwards is firmly ensconced in an Otago University ivory tower, is it any wonder he mis-reads the rantings of a generationally becalmed Paul Holmes? What they have in common is that time has left them both behind. Bruce Edwards would be well advised to spend a bit more time up in Auckland getting to know the zeitgeist of the future of this country before he comments on it; otherwise he'll keep making the sorts of mistakes common to foreign observers of others countries.

9:31 am  
Anonymous Scott said...

I think there's a good deal of truth in your argument, Sanctuary. I've noticed over the years that a lot of the leftists who are very sceptical about tino rangataitratanga politics, and about the very notion of a Maori nation, hail from the south.

Bryce Edwards was involved with the Christchurch-based group which published revolution magazine back in the '90s, and which went on to help form the Workers Party. These folks were inspired by the Brit journal Living Marxism, with its celebration of modernity and globalisation and its neglect of some of Marx's later, darker meditations on the growth of capitalism.

Edwards and others at revolution produced some thoughtful articles about New Zealand and Maori nationalism, in which they argued that Maori were an oppressed minority rather than a nation.

They suggested (correctly, I think) that there was no Maori nation before the arrival of Europeans, that some of the elements of a Maori nation began to appear as part of the struggle against colonialism, but that these institutions were crushed or marginalised after the New Zealand Wars as Maori were increasingly absorbed into the general population.

For Edwards et al, the tino rangatiratanaga movement and the focus on the Treaty which have been features of New Zealand history in recent decades are not the latest signs of a longstanding Maori desire for autonomy, but the creation of liberal Pakeha and a Maori capitalist elite.

These arguments deserve serious consideration, and include some truths, but they seem to me far too simplistic, because they ignore the thread that runs between nineteenth century Maori nationalist institutions like the Kingitanga, the Maori parliaments, and so on, to today's tino rangatiratanga movement (I blogged about some of these connections at:

12:41 pm  
Anonymous Scott said...

I think that in the South Island Maori nationalism was much weaker than in Te Maui a Ika, and Maori were more assimilated to Pakeha society (though, even in the south, we can find pehnomena like the separatist movement founded the prophet Te Maiharoa, and the founding of chapters of the Kotahitanga movement in places like Moeraki.)

I think the South Island sceptics about tino rangatiratanga are in a way the descendants of southern intellectuals like Charles Brasch and the young Allen Curnow, who saw Canterbury and Otago as landscapes empty of history. Brasch and co were criticised by northerners like Kendrick Smithyman and Keith Sinclair, who protested that in their part of the country every hillside showed evidence of ancient human habitation, and thriving Maori communities were located close to Pakeha towns.

I remember Edwards writing a couple of years ago that, under the influence of globalising capitalism, the differences between ethnic groups, including Maori and Pakeha, are fast becoming irrelevant. There's a palpable frustration, in much of his more serious writing, with the backwardness of folks who insist on identifying not as worker-citizens of the brave new globalised world, but with some ethnic or sectarian or regional entity.

It's certainly true that identities change over time, in response to economic and political pressures - the emergence of a pan-island Pasifika identity in Auckland in the last decade is a fascinating example of this - but Bryce is putting his head in the sand if he's denying the continual importance of Maori and iwi identity to many Kiwis, and the historical and material basis for that identity. He might as well
tell the Palestinians or the Kanaks to stop identifying with their ethnicity.

The Workers Party's one-dimensional approach to tino rangatiratanga led it to take up some weird positions, like support for Labour's seabed and foreshore legislation, and the party is now reassessing its take on Maori nationalism. I'm not sure if Bryce is still involved with the group.

I think Edwards' eagerness to see a critical debate about the Treaty of Waitangi and tino rangatiratanaga led him to ignore how virulently, irredeemably racist Holmes' remarks were, and to pretend that they could be turned into discussion points. I can't imagine him suggesting that Holmes' 'cheeky darkie' remark could be the basis for a discussion about Africans, or that John Tamihere's notorious attack on Jews could be the basis for a political discussion about that community.

12:41 pm  
Anonymous Scott said...

Another way we could challenge Edwards' claim that ethnic or cultural identity is becoming unimportant in New Zealand society is to look at the emerging protest movements in Auckland's Pasifika community.

The Leo Bilingual Pacific Language Coalition, a movement opposed to the marginalisation of Pasifika languages in New Zealand schools which has won mass support in Auckland. The Coalition is calling for the instruction of Pasifika students in their own languages, and applauds the opening of schools for specific Pasifika groups, like Magere's Tongan-language school and Te Atatu's Tokelauan school.

The Maori Party attracted, initially at least, quite strong support in Pasifika parts of Auckland, like Mangere, and the Mana Party is now pitching for support there.

I blogged about some of this stuff at:

1:01 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah great someone disgarees with you call a protest and get him sacked...

typical left...preach democracy, practice censorship...

1:02 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When did Bryce Edwards ever talk about socialism in the media? He's a paid up member of the Wellington beltway.

1:15 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He's also funded partly by Paul Holmes' friend David Farrar.

1:16 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But while Roughan and Plunket are both hostile to the protesters who gathered at Te Tii marae on Waitangi Day, their columns express views of Maori and of the Treaty qualitatively different from those of Holmes.

I don't really agree. They all have the same mindset as Paul Holmes they just don't have the balls to say it openly. They know the code the proper language to be racist in NZ without openly admitting to it. NZ society is thoroughly racist from its foundations, I prefer if they would just leave out all that "1 nation" lies and be honest about it. I don't think Paul Holmes is really important I doubt he means anything he says or cares about anything except page-hits like 'ratings' when he had a show. He tries to pander to racist NZ but he tries to hard and doesn't get it quite right, NZers like their racism to be more subtle. They prefer the passive aggressive dog-whistle style of John Roughan so they can attack darkies but we can never quite pin them down. It's infuriating, I really prefer it out in the open.

I agree with this blogger it deals with another Paul Holmes outburst. The issue Paul Holmes raises for discussion should be the racism of NZ but the discussion gets focused on him condemning him is a way to ignore structural problems to focus on the uncivil language of 1 man.

However all these recent race stories reveal when NZers say "NZ is 1 nation" they don't really believe it themselves. they still think of Maori as seperate they just want us to know our place.

2:42 pm  
Anonymous Scott said...

I dunno, anon: I think Roughan's past comments suggest he has a fairly mainstream liberal view of the Treaty as the founding document of New Zealand, and that he supports institutions like the Waitangi Tribunal, kohanga reo schools and the Maori Language Commission. I think that differentiates him politically from Holmes, who wants to scrap the Treaty and go back to the 1950s-style attempts to assimilate Maori to Pakeha culture and institutions.

And what is important is not just Holmes' politics but the way he attempts to express them. If Holmes had advocated a return to assimilationism without indulging in racist insults, then his comments would still be obnoxious, but they wouldn't place him outside the realm of proper public discourse. It wouldn't, in my view, be appropriate to protest outside the Herald and call for his sacking.

What justifies calls for Holmes' sacking and complaints to the Race Relations Conciliator are his racist insults, which incite hatred, discrimination, and quite possibly violence. If Holmes had called Jews greedy, evil and cunning people who abuse children and bamboozle other ethnic groups into giving them money, then he'd already be out of a job. It's only the fact that he's gone after Maori which has protected him.

3:12 pm  
Anonymous Scott said...

Herald's bullshit defence of Holmes

3:43 pm  
Anonymous Kelvin McQueen said...

(i) The key point which Hasting’s apathetic response fails to deal with is that Holmes’ hate speech breaks NZ law. Since 1971 NZ has restricted “freedom of speech” making incitement to racial disharmony a criminal offence. In the public arena of NZHerald, calling for abolition of Waitangi Day so that Maori can have it for themselves to plot against white folk… certainly seems like incitement to racial disharmony and therefore a criminal offence.

(ii) Hasting’s says that “it is not, as many people have suggested, a commentary on all Maori people or Maori culture generally but on the few protesters”. Yet in the actual article Holmes says things like “never mind the hopeless failure of Maori to educate their children and stop them bashing their babies”. That comment had nothing to with a small group of protestors (many of whom were pakeha). It was obviously aimed at Maori in general. What is Hasting’s thinking??

3:49 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I posted the wrong link

And what is important is not just Holmes' politics but the way he attempts to express them. If Holmes had advocated a return to assimilationism without indulging in racist insults, then his comments would still be obnoxious, but they wouldn't place him outside the realm of proper public discourse.

That's the bit I disagree with. If he avoided the open insults then he would be able to infiltrate the public discourse with coded racism. It would still be racist but we would all have to pretend it was rational and civilized because he has learnt how to express his racism in an acceptable way. It is depressing to debate with racists who pretend they are not racist and really just care about your children. The public discourse should be debating Pakeha racism not Maori assimilation.

3:53 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What justifies calls for Holmes' sacking and complaints to the Race Relations Conciliator are his racist insults, which incite hatred, discrimination, and quite possibly violence. If Holmes had called Jews greedy, evil and cunning people who abuse children and bamboozle other ethnic groups into giving them money, then he'd already be out of a job. It's only the fact that he's gone after Maori which has protected him.

PS- sure fire holmes, he is an idiot. And Michael Laws too. If he said Jews need to assimilate with Christians or Jewish culture belongs to all NZ but their religion is now obsolete would he be acceptable public discourse? Because people say that kind of thing about Maori ALL THE TIME and they never think they're racist.

3:59 pm  
Anonymous Scott said...

I agree with you, anon, that racist arguments, like the arguments for assimilation, have to be opposed even when they are couched in language devoid of incitements to hatred and violence.

But the opposition should take the form of counterargument, not attempts to shut down the proponent of, say, assimilationism. The history of New Zealand gives ample evidence - the banning of pro-union propaganda in 1951, the Tohunga Suppression Act, the loyalty tests for teachers during World War Two - of the use of the state by the right to quash free speech. We don't want to go down that sort of road.

Holmes' column is not an attempt at argument but a series of incitements to hatred against Maori. Because it is not an argument, it can't be countered rationally. And because it incites hatred, it puts people in danger of discrimination and violence. It's appropriate, then, in my opinion, to protest against Holmes' column.

4:11 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Time to retire Holmes -

6:51 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bryce Edwards - the right's favourite 'leftist'

6:53 pm  
Anonymous Tumeke said...

The man paid for by Farrar to promote right wing blogs under the guise of academic neutrality went a step further yesterday by supporting Paul Holmes racist rant.

Nonetheless, in his own limited and distorted way, Holmes raises important points and a legitimate perspective. Rather than clamping down on such opinions, New Zealand desperately needs an expanded debate about ethnicity and politics. So far this year, 'race relations' are dominating politics so more debate should be welcomed - but hopefully the kind that generates more light than heat.

I can hear those banjos strumming from the deep South of Bryce Edwards world. Note Paul isn't a redneck racist hate speech proponent, oh no, according to Dr Bryce, Holmes is raising 'important points'. No one in the blogosphere criticizes Bryce because they are desperate for his acknowledgment, personally I find the entire way he, Farrar and Holmes are entwined is just smelly. The only thing that is liberal about Dr Bryce Edwards is his haircut.

Mates support mates at the NZ Herald, Farrar paid Bryce, Bryce gets paid by the Herald, Herald pays Holmes. It's a circle jerk of opinion that never looked so beige and redneck.

Ugly that an academic would support the race baiting Holmes vomited up in the Herald.

Very ugly.The left need to understand Dr Bryce is just another apologist for right wing bullshit wrapped up under the gloss of Otago University's credibility. How dare he claim Holmes raises good points in his hateful race baiting.

Political academics from the deep south should be avoided like the invites to David Farrar's dinner parties.

8:21 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you guys are being a little unfair on Bryce Edwards, not to mention the whole of the South Island...

In your zero tolerance for racism you have become a little black and white, and thrown the academic out with the talk show host, I think.

I think that Bryce is saying "better out than in" - that it is important that we debate this stuff out in the open, and that by the comments following Holmes story, there certainly seems to be a great desire for it.

We are better of taking a more generous and playful view of this sort of thing. I'm sure you will all know and will have experienced, there's often little point arguing with your grandparents... they come from a different time. Yes I'm including Paul Holmes. Wouldn't it be more frightening if we found ourselves agreeing with them? What progress then? Rather than chastising them to simply affirm our beliefs, we should seek to understand the different context in which they grew up and how and why things have changed. I think one or two Maori out there might understand this approach, in respect of elders...

All you succeed in doing in attacking, admittedly, someone I think of as an old bigot is to puff yourself up in moral righteousness, in your own regard. In doing so several of you have gone overboard, broadly denigrating South Islanders - and South Island journalism, even poetry! - and making some fairly awful comments about Holmes' daughter who has very unfortunately fallen prey to drug addiction.

I'm fond of this blog for its deep and thoughtful analysis. I think you've missed the mark this time around, despite your best intentions.

12:28 am  
Anonymous Scott said...

I think you're misreading Bryce Edwards, anon - he didn't take the defensible position that Holmes' opinions, while racist, should be exposed to the full glare of public debate - he said that Holmes' views were 'legitimate' and 'important'. That's a very different line to make.

I think you're wrong, as well, to compare Holmes' claims about Maori with the prejudices the pre-Baby Boom generation had, and indeed in many cases still have, about Maori. The old school racism against Maori was patronising, and relied on petty ridicule. There'd be jokes about Maori smelling, and needing to wash more often, and jokes about how they make good truck drivers but bad students.

The newer anti-Maori memes, which have emerged in response to the tino rangatiratanga movement, are not patronising but fearful. They present Maori not as hopeless but as dangerous. I think they're far more likely to lead to violence.

I was happy to be a bit playful and take the mickey out of Holmes, in my original response to him - but I'm not Maori, and don't have to put up with being abused and discriminated against because of the charges Holmes is advancing.

I think the mood around the Maori blogosphere and on Maori discussion fora, not to mention the complaints which are pouring in to the Herald and to the Race Relations Conciliator, indicates that this isn't a case of a few delicate liberal Pakeha taking unnecessary offence, or firebreathing Maori radicals looking for offence.

And I think it's worth doing a thought experiment, and replacing the word 'Maori' in Holmes' column with 'Jew'. If Holmes' column had thrown its charges at Jews, or indeed almost any group but Maori,
then the Pakeha public would be up in arms. The fact that it is mostly Maori complaining shows how innured we have become to anti-Maori abuse in the media.

I'm sorry you got the impression I was bagging South Island writers like Brasch and the young Curnow. I don't think that Smithyman and the other northern critics of Brasch and co meant to denigrate their achievements, but to suggest that the vision they advanced of New Zealand was a partial one, based on regional not national experience.

I am not in any way hostile to South Island writing: I'm a big fan of Ruth Dallas' poetry, I've just discovered Alan Pascoe's extraordinary Unclimbed New Zealand, which records his adventures on Canterbury peaks in the '30s, and I've interviewed the young southern man Andrew Dean about his adventures in the hill country of the mind for brief 44...

I will admit to much preferring the Auckland to the South Island Curnow, though!

1:10 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But what's a legitimate opinion? Surely still an opinion, not a legitimate fact. "Legitimate opinion" can be taken two ways at least: this way, as an opinion legitimate because it exists, possibly because it is representative, or legitimate because it is more than opinion. Surely the former is the right way to interpret it, because the latter is an oxymoron. But then I'm probably reading too much into Mr Edwards.

"I'm sorry you got the impression I was bagging South Island writers like Brasch and the young Curnow. I don't think that Smithyman and the other northern critics of Brasch and co meant to denigrate their achievements, but to suggest that the vision they advanced of New Zealand was a partial one, based on regional not national experience."

Oh, come on. :) that's a red rag to a South Islander: somehow Auckland art is more Kiwi and representative of national experience for only talking about itself - like the (Auckland-based) TV news. Surely, if you have two different places with different cultural makeups, both which write about themselves and not themselves AND the other as well, they are both based on regional not national experience, i.e parochial? But let me step back a moment: aren't many of our Major South Island artists Maori, and well represented in national and international collections - e.g. Peter Robinson, Shane Cotton - thereby chipping away a little at this vision of the country as being brown on the top and white at the bottom like a coke bottle from a 50c mixture from Patel's?

1:34 am  
Anonymous Scott said...

Smithyman didn't for a second want to suggest that Auckland art, or Northland art, was more representative of New Zealand as a whole than the work of Cantabrians like Brasch and the young McCahon.

He defined himself as a regionalist, and said that he was against all attempts to create a single national literature. I read him as saying that the very notion of New Zealand is bogus.

And I think Smithyman's regionalism is in some ways quite relevant to the present moment. I think that one of the things that really gets on the wick of the political and media elite about Waitangi Day is the necessity of driving to an obscure part of Northland, where chai lattes and helipads are perhaps in short supply, and meeting locals who are resolutely committed to their region, and certainly not in awe of the bright lights of the big cities of Auckland and Wellington.

It's notable that a lot of the sharpest conflicts over neo-liberal globalisation in this country are occuring in the regions, where the desire of the metropolitan elite to get rid of the locals and replace them with a mixture of luxury resorts and mining operations is being resisted.

Alas I can't stand Peter Robinson's work! He's a shockmeister, in my opinion, and not much more. I like Cotton, but tend to think of him as a Northland artist, not a southerner! You folks did produce that great Kai Tahu artist Shane Bond though...

1:45 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah well I must read this Smithyman chap then, because he seems to be down my sheep track. Thanks for putting me on to him.

The power centres in the North are increasingly riding roughshod over the regions, and developing, especially Auckland, at the expense of the rest of the country. Sure, people may argue that Auckland is just where all the people are, but economically it is a self-consuming service economy.

Remember Environment Canterbury? How much dysfunction in Canterbury can be put down to different practice, or not obeying orders of Central Government and their Auckland-based mates?

Personally, I do not have a problem with the disjoint between different parts of the country in terms of tone, form, and, ah hum, colour. Nor do I have a problem with the physic dissonance that comes to the fore on Waitangi Day - at least we acknowledge that not everything is rosy. To me that shows that we have a (reasonably) mature attitude to history and race relations.

It would be interesting to investigate what attitudes to mining and oil and gas drilling are in the South. I would guess that a lot of poor, working class people, except perhaps for those in Golden Bay, would be friendly to mining, especially on the West Coast where access to jobs in heavy industry has been seen as a working class right. Imagine a situation where the South was mined and the North was not, prevented by liberal elites and iwi. One could imagine the fantasy calls for an independent South Island taking on some real force or weight especially given the perception (and to a large extent the reality) that corporates serve Auckland and Politicos serve Wellington and/or Auckland.

I quite like Peter Robinson's work because I see it as an antidote to some of the more po-faced abstract expressionism and conceptual art that comes out of this country. He is certainly very serious in intent, Peter. He was a very earnest art teacher. A bit tortured, too.


10:56 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I mean O&G more than land-based mining. It is much more palatable down south I think, although I realise that Taranaki is already full of holes.


11:10 am  
Blogger Dave Brown said...

Glad to see the bloggers weighing in on racism. Holmes is bad news because, like Laws, he is a fascist stirrer. He is targeting Maori as untermenschen. So the focus should be how in NZ now racism must morph into fascism. And therefore how best to fight fascism. Getting Holmes sacked or charged even if successful only sows illusions in bourgeois justice.

I think more energy should go into supporting Maori who speak out against racism and get a ton of shit dumped on them.
Remember the recent attacks on Margaret Mutu as a 'racist'. On this question Mutu has a sharp knife and gets close to the bone and certainly risked her job.

11:50 am  
Blogger Dave Brown said...

On the roots of fascism in Aotearoa

11:57 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Is music still music without a loudspeaker?

12:00 pm  
Anonymous Edward said...

I agree with what Kelvin McQueen said earlier - despite the Heralds' pathetic defense of Holmes' rant - it is comprised of hate speech, not free speech. A bloody journalist should know the difference!

12:06 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It may be hate speech but it is still "legitimate opinion" in that it is. sadly, widely held.

We can fight the Taleban it is probably best to try and engage them, even if it sickens us to stoop to their level of sophistication and 'argument'... perhaps I'm totally wrongheaded, but left-wing chest puffing doesn't seem to serve much purpose, and certainly not in wider society. having said that, I recognize this is a blog and not a war room or a diplomatic headquarters. Rage on!

12:44 pm  
Anonymous Edward said...

But is calling for the dismissal or even merely criticising Holmes equivallent to lefty chest-puffing? Surely as well as engagement (I think you're very correct on the need for a constructive approach) we need to publicly battle this stuff so that it doesn't fly past under the radar so to speak - this stuff is really insideous.

8:01 pm  
Anonymous JB said...

You can also do the same thought experiment and replace white/pakeha in some of Margaret Mutu's writings.

I think one of the problems is that the people who you would normally entrust to sensibly debate these issues - academics, veteran broadcasters - instead prefer to use their positions to agitate.

10:10 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like when Margaret Mutu said racism is prejudice + power. Imagine if she said Maori colonised NZ and Pakeha were the victims of Maori colonisation, that would obviously be untrue so how can anything she said be true?? Cool thought experiment bro

I thought at least Holmes was openly racist, there was no way they could deny he was racist they would have to face it but then I read the comments on the internet. I underestimated how far some white NZers will go to deny racism in NZ

11:03 am  
Anonymous Bill said...

Louis CK on being white, if you haven't already read it:

Margaret Mutu would agree, and perhaps even laugh if she was capable of laughing.


11:58 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

he future of Europe is a patchwork of historic and (what Marxists used to call) 'non-historic' nations - England, Estonia, Montenegro, Germany, Flanders and Cornwall. The more nation states the greater democracy.

The more nation-states the greater we educate one another about different cultures and languages. Those who wish to see a Europe of a dozen or so large countries are the ones who belong to the past, or to the rectangular states of the American Mid-West. Europe's strength is its diversity.

In this new Europe we wish well to our English neighbours in their quest for independence, but ask them to respect the Cornish identity. An amazing blossoming has happened in this small corner of Europe.

A national consciousness re-born in the last few decades. With the re-launch of the Cornish Constitutional Convention, now is the time that we recognise its constitutional aspiration. Cornwall's population is onlyslightly less than Montenegro - who only a few weeks ago regained her independence.

The results from the 2001 UK census show that over thirty seven thousand people claimed Cornish identity instead of choosing English or British. On this census to claim Cornish identity you had to deny being British, by crossing out the British option, and then write Cornish in the others box. Additionally the decision to collect information on Cornish identity was extremely badly publicised.

How many more would have described themselves as Cornish if there had been a Cornish tick box? How many people knew that it was an option? How many ticked British but feel themselves Cornish British? Cornwall Council's Feb 2003 MORI Poll showed 55% in favour of a democratically elected, fully devolved regional assembly for Cornwall, (this was an increase from 46% in favour in a 2002 poll).

Labour's typical Brit Nat response has been to ignore the overwhelming public support for a Cornish Assembly. Instead, it has constructed a network of bogus unelected and unaccountable bodies such as the South West Regional Assembly and the South West Regional Development Agency, which have taken control over areas such as economic development, housing and strategic planning, further and further away from the communities of Cornwall. It's about time the Brit Nat Labour government organised a referendum in Cornwall for a devolved Cornish assembly and stopped pushing the South West boil-in-the-bag region on the Cornish.

1:29 am  
Blogger andrew said...

Thanks for this article, Scott. Bryce Edwards left the WP a couple of years ago and has steadily drifted right, under the guise of academic neutrality. I've known Bryce for a few years, since he moved to Dunedin (where I also live) and enjoyed some good conversations. But I was sideswiped the other day when he told the Otago Daily Times that Occupy was not a political movement as such (ie it was incoherent), but simultaneously it was backed by Unite, Mana and the International Socialists. I may be paranoid - always a risk on the far left - but it seemed to me he was both denying that Occupy had anything to say and suggesting it was being manipulated by far-left forces. I was disappointed by that and by his painfully even-handed election coverage.

5:38 pm  

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